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November 24, 2014

Hello, Lollipop!

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

Completely out of character, Google has distributed the Android 5.0 or “Lollipop” update to all Nexus devices. This renders my Nexus For Dummies titles instantly obsolete.

Welcome to high-tech publishing!

Not to worry: Soon I’m going to be self publishing a lot of material on Amazon. So the updates will be coming, just not from my 18th Century publisher.

For now, I’d like to review some of the changes between Lollipop and previous versions of Android.

Yeah, Lollipop is a major update, and I like the changes. Things are gradually coming together in the Googleverse.

Lock Screen. The standard lock screen now features notifications. You can turn them off, but it’s nice to see the notifications as more than just wee little icons, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Lock screen notifications.

Figure 1. Lock screen notifications.

You can even swipe to dismiss notifications without unlocking the device. And if you are concerned about security, you can disable the lock screen notifications, but only when you use a secure screen lock (PIN or Password). Speaking of which:

The lock screen now works in two phases. You always swipe the screen, but when you have a secure screen lock, it’s displayed next and then you work that lock.

Navigation Icons. The Back, Home, and Recent icons all changed their look, as shown in Figure 2. They perform the same actions; the Back icon even rotates when you need to dismiss the onscreen keyboard, which is handy — and consistent.

Figure 2. Lollipop navigation icons.

Figure 2. Lollipop navigation icons.

By the way, the Recent icon has now been dubbed the Overview. Tap it to view recent apps, which appear in a scrolling cascade, shown in Figure 3. Swipe the list to choose an app.

Figure 2. The recent apps / task manager / Overview.

Figure 2. The recent apps / task manager / Overview.

Notifications and Quick Actions. Gone is the dual-psychotic method of accessing notifications and quick actions. This is one item of improvement that was sorely needed.

Pull down the screen to view notifications. Pull down again to expand the notifications and show the quick actions. This technique works the same for both phones and tablets, shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Notifications (left) and Quick Actions (right).

Figure 4. Notifications (left) and Quick Actions (right).

Settings App. The Settings app has really cleaned up. Borrowing a bit from Samsung, but doing it better, the Settings app is now organized into cards, shown in Figure 5. Finding things is easy and quick.

Figure 5. Android 5.0's vastly improved Settings app interface.

Figure 5. Android 5.0’s vastly improved Settings app interface.

Overall, the look and feel of Android 5.0 is solid. The apps are all becoming more unified — including Gmail. The Email app is gone and Gmail now handles all your email.

It’s about time.

I’ll be covering more features in the future, as I explore Lollipop and figure out neat stuff.

Remember: Unlike iOS, Android devices are not universally uploaded. Especially if you have a Samsung device, it may or may not (probably not) receive the Lollipop update.

2 Comments

  1. Do you mind giving your opinion on which smartphone currently has the best UI? I personally feel that Samsung is pulling away from the pack with the Note 3/4 in how their stylus works with touchwiz

    Comment by BradC — November 24, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

  2. I like the Note line of phones. I wish my publisher would respect that, but no. Regardless, I prefer the Nexus line, which is pure Android.

    Samsung has a history of messing with things, trying stuff out, then changing things in a manner I can’t figure out. Their whole Hub thing was silly. The Samsung App Store is unnecessary. I just can’t figure them out. Hardware-wise, good stuff! TouchWiz is okay, but it departs from Android enough that I’m leery of it. Also, that departure doesn’t seem to be better, only different.

    Comment by admin — November 24, 2014 @ 2:14 pm

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